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Does the Data Center Provide an Advantage for Government?

Today, as I watched the Cisco Data Center webcast “Evolutionary Fabric, Revolutionary Scale: A Nondisruptive Way to Handle Dynamic Data Center and Cloud Environments” I thought about how data centers can provide an advantage for government agencies seeking ways to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.

In many ways, data centers today have similar characteristics when compared to government organizations with:

  • isolated silos of information
  • labor-intensive manual processes
  • rising costs of service
  • limited flexibility
  • mandates to provide open access to information
  • changing workplace with mobile applications, video, …
  • requirements to ensure security

In the data center, silos include servers, storage, applications, and network devices.  In many government organizations, different agencies often operate independently in separate silos.

The strategic advantage for both government IT organizations and government agencies is to develop holistic strategies that unify the separate parts into a system to deliver better efficiency with higher resource utilization that is easier to manage and costs less.

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Can technology help government support community services and reduce costs?

Last week I had the opportunity to host two groups of visitors:  a group of community policing leaders from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and a delegation of foreign exchange students from Iwata, Japan.  I enjoyed meeting all the guests and the conversations we had about the many changes and challenges in our communities.

We discussed the impact of increased diversity and convergence of cultural values, critical budget issues facing government agencies, and the continuing need for citizen services for community safety and emergency response.  We brainstormed ideas for how technology can help.

Despite the severe economic and environmental challenges, both groups were optimistic about our future and the potential for technology to play a positive role.

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Does PCI DSS compliance improve your security effectiveness ?

I was reading an article recently about what auditors really think about the security and compliance requirements that they test for when doing a PCI DSS compliance audit. I was more than a little surprised to read that over 60% of the 505 auditors in the study referenced said the organizations they audit don’t believe compliance improves their data security effectiveness. I’m a bit perplexed by that. After all, there are only 12 requirements in the PCS DSS specification, and they seem pretty straightforward and simple to me. Read More »

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Public Sector Cloud – The Big Debate

Public Sector Cloud: The Big DebateI recently watched a session called, “Public Sector Cloud -- The Big Debate”, recorded earlier this year.  The debate presents several points of view from experts in the field of Cloud Computing.  I enjoyed the candid conversation and the opportunity to get a taste for the challenges governments face in their environments.

I encourage you to watch this too and let me know what you think.  The session was moderated by Dr. Richard Sykes and includes experts such as John Suffolk (former UK Government CIO) and David Wilde (Westminster City Council CIO).

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Top 3 Government Challenges with Cloud

As Cloud Computing gains more attention from government customers, it presents new challenges and demands a different set of skills to become successful. Having a clear understanding of the business’ challenges and the benefits that may be obtained from the cloud becomes even more important.

In my conversations with different government organizations about Cloud Computing, three distinct challenges keep coming up.

Cloud Computing Government

#1: Reducing Costs. More than ever, agencies have the pressure to reduce costs at all levels.  Dealing with shrinking budgets and demands for newer services has forced agencies to carefully look for areas that may be optimized or simplified.  While many agencies struggle to keep the lights on, they are forced to look at alternate ways to provide services. Cloud services has become an attractive way to address those demands and provide new services to its citizens.

The pressure to reduce costs has also forced agencies with common needs to work together and find ways to collaborate and simplify operations.  This is different from the past, where agencies could not justify or were not interested in combining computing resources with other agencies.

#2: Agility and Scalability. At the same time they are forced to reduce costs, agencies are also forced to achieve new levels of agility and innovation.  The constant demand for new services and deployment of new technologies have forced agencies to consider services in the cloud in order to simplify and reduce their infrastructure footprint.  While agencies may be solely focused on reducing costs, cloud applications can not only reduce the costs, but also give agencies a new level of agility and scalability.

The cloud allows agencies to pool resources to serve multiple customers using a multi-tenant model.  These shared resources give agencies a sense of independence and elasticity, since resources may be dynamically assigned according to demand.

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